DS

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

Eragon

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Eragon is an adaptation of the new film and modern classic book of the same name. Unfortunately, its translation into the interactive media isn't the best and the only people who will truly appreciate the game are those who have read the book or seen the movie.

From a graphics standpoint, Eragon isn't all that bad. Characters and enemies are all done in the standard 3D graphics style and, considering the graphical prowess of the DS, do a pretty good job of rendering the movie-actor they are trying to portray. The game's cut-scenes have an interesting quasi-cel-shaded feel to them that I liked better than the in-game style. The environments are also fairly good, but the extremely pixelated textures get to be a bit distracting after a while. But again, this is an issue with the DS, not the game itself.

The game's sound department is mostly forgettable. Background music has a generic fantasy flare to it and the sound effects come off repetitive (especially when clashing swords with a group of baddies).


Gameplay:

Eragon's levels are broken up into two styles. There is the action/adventure aspect, which is most of the game, where you control the young farm-boy as he attempts to learn his new powers, become a Dragon Rider, and save the kingdom from the evil emperor. And then there are the levels where you control his dragon, Saphira, as she flys through enemy-infested landscapes.

The levels where you control Eragon are fairly basic and straightforward. You run around a fairly constricted level, killing enemies and collecting items. Eragon has three major weapons. He has a sword, a bow and magic. Since Eragon has just learned of his destiny, he doesn't know a whole lot of magic. Throughout the game, he will learn spells that can be cast by drawing their symbol on the touch screen, and then cast them with a flick of the wrist (See Game Mechanics).

Saphira's levels are simple and mostly feel a bit tacked on. Here you will have to navigate her through a series of rings along a pre-set path in order to avoid enemy fire. These levels are nowhere near as frequent as the Eragon ones, and whenever they occur, they just feel a bit out of place.

As for the game's storyline, I found it fairly hard to understand individual events because it seemed like the plot-advancing cut-scenes covered a whole lot of events really fast. Sure I got a good idea of the story overall, but plenty of the details were lost on me. I'm sure I would understand a bit more of the game's story had I read the book, but as a stand-alone experience, Eragon is a bit lacking.


Difficulty:

Eragon's difficulty level is just about right. If it erred in any direction, then I would have to say it was a little too easy. I found a few places throughout the story that I had to repeat more times than I would like to admit, but for the most part, I was able to make steady progress from beginning to end.

The most frustrating aspect of the game was its spell casting system. And while I will go into the mechanics of that in more detail in the next section, suffice it to say that when drawing the symbols on the touch screen, you have to be a bit more precise than the game's enemy-count allows at times.


Game Mechanics:

Eragon's most notable mechanic is how it uses the touch screen. The lower screen is used for communicating with Saphira (occasionally) and casting magic spells. In both cases, you achieve your goal by drawing symbols that represent the spell you are trying to cast or the idea you are trying to convey.

Casting spells are fairly easy to pick up, conceptually anyway. Actually performing the spells when faced with several enemies is a little harder (see previous section). Once you have collected a new symbol, you simply draw it on the screen and then flick your stylus up towards the top screen in the direction you want to cast it. For instance, if you want to hit an enemy on the left edge of the top screen, once you are done drawing your magic symbol, you just flick your stylus towards the upper left-hand corner of the touch screen.

Eragon is a game that, most likely, only fans of the book will enjoy. Having never read the book, I found it hard to follow along with the game's story and that really hindered my experience.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Sony PlayStation 2 Eragon Windows Eragon

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated